Gerald Oppenheimer, PhD, MPH

  • Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences
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Gerald M. Oppenheimer, PhD, is a historian who focuses on the social and scientific factors that shape perceptions of disease and epidemics, like that of HIV/AIDS, and drive biomedical thought and technology. Central to Dr. Oppenheimer's work is the belief that critical historical analysis can elucidate public policy and ethical issues and provide a narrative for exploring policy alternatives. His work has also explored the ethical, social and scientific ramifications of questions raised by HIV/AIDS, such as healthcare financing, screening, healthcare rationing, and the limits of evidence-based public health. Dr. Oppenheimer is currently researching the intersection of cardiovascular epidemiology, scientific policy and American culture since 1945. Over the past decade, he has pioneered in the study of the history of modern, risk factor epidemiology, especially its role in forming our understanding of chronic disease, and the effect of epidemiology on biomedical policy, culture and the market place since World War II. At the Mailman School, Dr. Oppenheimer created a course in the history of epidemiology and will teach a seminar in the history of chronic disease. He has co-authored two books with Professor Ronald Bayer on the history of HIV/AIDS that trace the evolution and complex response to the epidemic in the U.S. (AIDS Doctors: Voices from the Epidemic) and South Africa (Shattered Dreams? An Oral History of the South African AIDS Epidemic). Dr. Oppenheimer is also a professor of public health at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, where he teaches seminars in the history of modern public health.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, 1964 City College New York
  • MA, 1966 University of Chicago
  • PhD, 1976 University of Chicago
  • MPH, 1979 Columbia University

Committees, Societies, Councils

Member, New York Academy of Medicine

Member, American Public Health Association

Member, American Association for the History of Medicine

Professor, School of Public Health and the Department of History,Graduate Center (CUNY)